The Enemy Effect

WarriorI have a hunch that we as people need an ENEMY. Who defines and what exactly are the characteristics of an ENEMY? I often wonder why ENEMY building is so directional and why some see it as profitable. In other words, both individual people and groups of people go through a myriad of efforts to identify an ENEMY to them, their group and their cause. Once an ENEMY has been successfully identified, all efforts of the individual, group, and cause are focused on the ENEMY designated.

It is not a difficult task to look around in your home, family, work place, entertainment, schools, neighborhood, city, state, region, country, continent, or hemisphere and identify who we have deemed our ENEMIES to be. What is difficult is turning the tide of those designations once they have worn out their usefulness related to the individual, group, or cause.

Specifically, with we military types, training to defeat a current or potential ENEMY is who we are and what we do. The very reason we volunteered and the oaths we have taken highlight these points exactly:

Oath of Enlistment- “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Oath of Commissioned Officers- “I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.” (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

These Oaths are a necessary part of our service obligation for defending our Constitution and our sovereignty as a nation.

The ENEMY Effect is also seen in movies, video games, books, history, the present, and is expected in the future. Enmity which means, “The state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something” (dictionary), is the earliest recognition of an ENEMY in the Bible. We see the English word used in Genesis 3. Prior to mankind’s mortal sin, we either did not know we had an ENEMY or we did not have an ENEMY until that day. Hence we have our first ENEMY identified as Lucifer. Another ENEMY is mentioned but we gloss over it with all the ignorance of a novice Bible reader. The other ENEMY identified in scripture is Death. However, this ENEMY is identified directionally different. Whereas Lucifer (later Satan) is identified as the object of our enmity, death is not identified as the object but as a result or an outcome. Therefore, our ENEMY now has an ally called Death.

Many of you have read my previous entries where I clearly identify and tackle how we are to engage the first ENEMY but I have yet to speak on the second, the ally of Satan. Furthermore, any discussion of the first is then rendered incomplete without inclusion of the second. In reality what we have been doing as believers is fighting one and memorializing the other. Few of us, those I consider the truly brave fight both. I think of those who honestly invest both time and money to find a cure for cancer and any number of the other diseases that plague our masses. I think of the Israeli army (IDF) who while clearly defining and knowing their geographical and historical enemies still provide medical care on the battlefield for their enemies and their families. I think of our Soldiers who have sacrificed their own lives for the lives of others to include every American citizen and their battle buddies. These and many like them are the causes fought by a select few in any given society. To be exact, these fights are waged by less than ½ of 1% of people in any given population.

May I suggest that my hunch carries with it a further observation? WE ARE DOING IT WRONG! Whether we are people of faith or people of no faith we are fighting the wrong enemies and we are fighting them in the wrong way. Again, as I have pointed out previously, the Bible does a great job identifying who and what we are truly fighting (Ephesians 6:10-18). That is the ENEMY part but the ally of death is present as well and is glossed over in these circumstances just as it was when we read Genesis for the millionth time.

In order to properly understand these two points together, you must take time to read 1 Corinthians 15 with an emphasis on verse 26. It is critical that you read the entire chapter and not take verse 26 out of context. For our purposes here, I will share verse 26 but ask that as you continue to practice integrity and go read chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” (v. 26)

Back to my hunch, I think we need an ENEMY and because we do we spend an inordinate amount of time creating ENEMIES where there should be none. I strongly believe this is why Jesus tells us to “Love our enemies.” Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” He knows that the object of our enmity is Satan. He also knows that we create enemies where there should be none (thus, the reason for covenants, commandments, laws, statutes, and so on), and He knows that the ENEMIES of all is death because He defeated death once and for all by rising from the tomb.

What is missing in this entry is the practical application and a more specific identification of our ENEMIES and his ally, some who read this may say things like, “what about those who break our laws and take other people’s lives?” That said, I don’t think it is missing at all because this is the same directional method of targeting to identify an ENEMY that we have been using since Genesis 3.

Let me put it another way. I once counseled a female who had made up her mind that she was going to commit suicide. She had recently developed medical issues that would change her living habits, her husband had been abusive for years in their marriage, and she was confused about her purpose in life since she had been a Christian since her teen years. She had come to believe that she was the object of all that was wrong with her, her family, and her faith. In the process of counseling, I almost missed an incredible opportunity. I quickly identified her problems and mistakenly said under my breath, “so you think you are the problem?” I said this as I was writing and my intent was to come back around later in the counseling and engage her on this subject but she heard my musing and asked, “What did you say?” I repeated myself, “So you think you are the problem!” She immediately started to cry and replied, “Yes, yes, I am the problem.” I quickly retorted, “Ma’am, you are not the problem, the problem is the problem!” She had never considered another option. My identifying the Problem as the Problem and not her, her husband, her kids, or her health was life changing for her. She went through with her upcoming surgery and chose not to end her own life.

maxresdefaultNow the question was, “What then is the problem?” Good question! The problem is our capacity to sin which is exploited by a determined ENEMY that inevitably ends in our untimely death. Being this is the case, we must call on a savior. A set of problems of this magnitude is too large for us to fight alone and neither does God expect us to. God alone can deliver us from the ENEMIES we face and that includes the ones we willfully create due to our misguided and albeit perceived need to have an ENEMY. The only true way to lessen the effect of the true ENEMY and his ally is to call upon the name that is above all names, Jesus Christ. As Christians, we have a different need than that of an ENEMY. Ours is to live with the understanding of where our hope comes from so we can defeat the real ENEMIES by the Blood of the Lamb and power of our testimony.

Mijikai Mason
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Mijikai Mason and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Bio: Mijikai Mason is an Ordained Southern Baptist minister and Chaplain in the United States Army. He has been in the Army for 26 years both as an enlisted Soldier and now as an Officer. He has been stationed at various bases in the United States and in United States Army Garrison Schweinfurt, Germany. He holds an undergraduate degree in Religion from the University of Mobile, a Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Theology and Evangelism and a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Webster University. Chaplain (MAJ) Mijikai Mason was selected by the Army in 2013, to become a Family Life Chaplain and began his service in this field starting 15 May 2015. He is the Deputy ESC Chaplain and Family Life Chaplain for the 593 Expeditionary Support Command at Joint Base Lewis McCord. He has deployed four times: Desert Storm (1991), Iraq twice (2005-2006; 2007-2008), and Afghanistan (2012-2013). He has a total of 42 months deployed in combat and logistics operations. Mijikai and his wife, Ashley, have been married for 17 years this May and live near Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington with their four daughters.